“Sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Well, there is no reason for you to take this saying seriously, until one of them has bitten you hard. Bed bugs are a common problem in most homes, not necessarily due to poor sanitation. You never know, your bed too might have provided shelter to these annoying parasites. And if a probable bed bug outbreak at your home is what’s worrying you, then the best thing to do would be changing the mattress. But that doesn’t guarantee that your new mattress is going to be bed bug-free. Therefore, it’s important that you put bed bugs away forever using home remedies.
What causes bed bugs?
- Sleeping on your friend’s bed bug- ridden bed is a bit risky. When you reach home, these parasites will be happy to shift from your body to your bed.
- Frequently travelling to affected areas- places that are mostly congested and unhygienic, make your home prone to get infested.
- If you are moving to a new apartment that has been empty for a good long time, clean it well before you shift. Abandoned places are home to bed bugs.
- If you are travelling with a bedbug ridden fellow passenger, be sure they are stealthily making their way to your body.
- People, who don’t wash their curtains regularly, might have bedbugs in them. Think twice before drawing curtains at somebody else’s place, whose hygiene levels are not known to you.
- If you have an infested pet at home you love to be cozy with, you stand more chances of contracting these parasites from it.
- Things meant for public use like chairs installed in a theatre, cushioned stools in shops, common headphones in music shops etc. might carry bedbugs. It’s best to take a shower on getting home after you visit such a place.
- Bed bugs also come hiding in luggage.
What are symptoms of bed bug bite?
- The most common symptom of bed bug bite is swelling.
- There is redness as well. The centre gets a little darker red. This happens because of the bacteria present in the bug’s saliva.
- The swellings are generally arranged in a row. Sometimes they are also found in clusters. Pathologists call this the “breakfast, lunch and dinner” sign to imply their chronological feeding pattern.
- Bed bug bites eventually become blisters or hives.
- Generally, itchier than mosquito bites.
- Bed bugs possess glands that secrete a fluid having a strong odour. So if your swellings smell, know for sure what has caused them.
- Rashes caused due to bed bugs usually show up after an hour, but sometimes a couple of days pass by without the appearance of symptoms.
Home remedies to get rid of bed bugs
1. Sleep-time hygiene
Bed bugs are most comfortable in beds. And that’s obvious. So, it becomes all the more essential to make sure that your bed, including the mattress, the bed sheet, the pillows, the blanket and everything else attached to your bed are kept clean. While it’s not possible to wash heavy items like mattresses and blankets regularly, they should be encased with zipped covers for easy removal and washing.
2. Mattress matters
The most favorite hiding place of bed bugs is the seams of mattresses. They can be found crawling on them if looked at closely. This is certainly a creepy sight and should be prevented at all costs. What to do? Vacuum or steam-clean the mattresses. Make sure the vacuum cleaner reaches the areas that are most likely to be infested. Run the vacuum under the bed as well. This is the effective home remedy to get rid of bed bugs.
3. They are hiding in your used furniture
You home is not bed bug free despite the fact that you are a cleanliness freak who cleans and washes things every other day. Wondering why? Maybe because you have second-hand furniture at your home! It’s important that you first thoroughly inspect used furniture for bed bugs before paying for them.
4. Save your bedroom
Keep your bedroom as clean as possible. Your favorite bedroom is also the coziest place for these little monsters. Start by removing all the unnecessary things. Most of the things that remain untouched for long, generally develop bed bugs on them. If you hate bed bugs, then you will have to reduce the clutter to save your room from bed bug infestation. Throw out everything and anything that is of no use to you, no matter how loved it was when you bought it.
5. Wear the hunter-gatherer cloak
Most people having bed bugs in their homes become hunter- gatherers. Yes, literally. They switch on their torch lights. Look for bed bugs in the remotest corners of their homes, hunt them with duct tapes that lift them up from wherever they are, and finally, gather them in plastic bags. These plastic bags should be disposed off at the farthest point one can conveniently reach, even if that means travelling to another city.
Floor first-Isn’t it creepy to imagine yourself walking amidst bed bugs? That could become a reality if you do not keep your floor super clean. Bed bugs are sometimes found hidden in the grooves of your tiled floor. To get rid of nasty bed bugs insects, you must clean your floor with a bleaching agent. If you know where they generally hide, you can spray rubbing alcohol around these places. Don’t forget to keep the doormats clean.
6. Earth to smother them
If they have annoyed you enough that you don’t want to spare them even for a day, you should probably use diatomaceous earth to kill them. It is an abrasive powder and is strong enough to destroy the external covering of the bed bugs. Bed bugs without their exoskeletons become dehydrated and eventually die. Don’t you wish every bed bug in the world died like this? Yes, it’s fine being annoyed enough to be so cruel!
7. Bugs in cracks
Are you under the illusion that they are confined to your beds and sofas and floors? Well, it will be useful for you to know that bed bugs love the cracks and crevices of your walls too. You can wipe the walls but that is not going to clean the cracks off bed bugs. Want a solution? Seal the cracks with clay or any other sealing material.
8. Show them the sun
When you return home from a tour, keep your luggage in the sun for a couple of hours. This is to ensure that the bed bugs (if at all there are) leave your luggage. If you live in a cold place and see the sun occasionally, you can try an alternative. Expose your luggage to very hot steam and you will notice bed bugs coming out of your luggage. This method is equally effective.
What you can do to avoid bed bugs?
- Never take home discarded items. They may have been left because of bed bugs.
- If you go somewhere and you see bed bugs there, it’s wise to take precautions on coming back home.
- Look for bed bugs regularly at your home. The easiest way is to inspect your bed every time you change the sheets.
- If you are taking a house on rent, talk to the landlord to make sure the house you are renting is free from bedbugs.
- Always keep with you a sprayer that kills bugs.
- Use your own bed sheets whenever you sleep on a hotel bed.